Adirondack Night

The moon gently ascends out of a stand of quiet birch.
It backlights them
so the edge of each limb, twig and leaf
Is momentarily light up and etched
with dazzling white brillance.
Drenched in light,
each lacey bough stands out,
blazing in vivid sharp detail.
Then as the moon rises away,
the birch gradually sink back to being a grayish dull mass —
a large murky blur pressed against a wall of sheer starry sky.
My eyes follow the moon upward on its path
as it weaves through stars
that are riding their own patterns across the night.
Looking past the moon,
I construct in my thought what is further out —
dense blue suns, huge black holes,
swirling collections of cosmic debris,
lifeless silence and infinite emptiness,
an emptiness replete only with itself.
Then I feel slightly disturbed, lonely and sad
as I measure the smallness of life
against the timeless immensity
of that cold stretching expanse.
Uncomfortable, my glance returns back to the splendid birch,
and then, to nearby mountains,
old lumpy mountains that I regard as friends
because I have always loved them so dearly
and know their various slopes
as intimately as the palms of my hands.
As always, they conceal a great section of sky from sight
and tonight, I find solace in that cut off view.
Surrounded by birch and mountains,
I measure the small landscape that they provide for my life
against all of infinity that the universe engulfs,
and the eons that have grown obscure.
Against the vastness and the mystery
that is never to be known,
my close surroundings cradle me,
bring tender aching love for
their intimate familiarity.
The related commentary that my daughter at age eight wrote:
This is a different sense of night than the writer portrayed in her last
poem. In this one, she contrasts what is close by with what is far away.
In the other one, she showed what total darkness was like.
Both poems expose a different sense of what it is like to be in the dark.
Both focus on the self in relation to surroundings. In this one, she appreciates
her surroundings as they give her life shape. In the other poem, there was no
shape, as everything blended together.

Sally Dugman is a writer in MA, USA.



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